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Community of Scholars 2021

The 2021 Community of Scholars scholarship competition consists of two rounds and a celebratory online event. In the first round, students will compete for the Morris and Distinguished Scholars Award packages. All participants will virtually join together with current students, alumni, faculty, and staff for an online day of celebration on January 30, 2021. The top-scoring entries from Round One will proceed to Round Two to compete for a Prairie Scholars Award package.


These are the top scholarships available from the University of Minnesota Morris. Entering first year students who receive one of UMN Morris’s Achievement Awards are eligible to participate in Community of Scholars. Learn more about other scholarships.

Distinguished Scholars Award—$1,500 scholarly stipend, plus your previously awarded Achievement Scholarship package

Morris Scholars Award—$24,000 scholarship package ($6,000 per year), plus a $2,500 scholarly stipend

Prairie Scholars Award—full-tuition scholarship package (4 years)


  • December 15, 2020: Deadline to provide your submission
  • Week of January 11, 2021: Round One participants notified of awards
  • January 15, 2021: Deadline to RSVP for the required Scholarship Recognition Day
  • Week of January 18, 2021: Participants invited to participate in Round Two notified
  • January 30, 2021: Scholarship Recognition Day (virtual)
  • Week of February 8, 2021: Online individual interviews for Prairie Scholars Award (Round Two)
  • Week of February 22, 2021: Round Two participants notified of awards


Students interested in competing for scholarships must submit a response by 11:59 p.m. on December 15, 2020. Pick one of the below three prompts. Your submission can be represented in an essay or visually through photography, an original work of art, music, science experiment, dance, a theatrical presentation, or any other outlet you choose. Written submissions maximum 750 words. Video or audio maximum 5 minutes.

  1. Scholarship recipients find that their educational experience at UMN Morris goes far beyond the classroom. It also includes valuable experiences like study abroad, creative production, and undergraduate research. Tell or show us how you would use opportunities such as these to help achieve your goals.
  2. A UMN Morris education helps students put their passions into action (for example: continuing the campus mission of environmental sustainability, volunteering for meaningful causes, researching ways to solve challenges). Tell or show us how you would like to utilize your education to make the world a better place, locally, nationally, or globally.
  3. A liberal arts education is a core part of who we are at UMN Morris. Tell or show us what a liberal arts education means to you—how is it valuable? How will you integrate a liberal arts education into your academic journey and future?



Students and families are invited to participate in our virtual Scholarship Recognition Day on Saturday, January 30, 2021. You don't need to feel stressed about this event—we're planning sessions that will be enjoyable and informative, rather than competitive. Look at this as an opportunity to immerse yourself in the UMN Morris experience, even though we're not able to come together on campus. You will get to meet current faculty, hear from past scholarship recipients (both current students and alumni) and meet other prospective students in a relaxed and friendly environment.

Note: You must attend this online event in order to be eligible for the Prairie, Morris, or Distinguished Scholars Award packages. If you are unable to participate, please email Alison Campbell to discuss alternative arrangements.

Confirm your attendance 

An RSVP is required for the virtual Scholarship Recognition Day event. Please confirm your attendance online by Friday, January 15, 2021.

Download a branded University of Minnesota Morris background to use on Scholarship Recognition Day!


The top entries from Round One will be invited to compete for Prairie Scholars Awards. Individual interviews for these students will be scheduled during the week of February 8, 2021, and will take place virtually.


General Questions

Who is eligible to participate in Community of Scholars?

Entering first year students who receive one of UMN Morris’s Achievement Awards are eligible to participate in Community of Scholars.

How many students participate?

In a typical year, more than 300 scholarship finalists participate in the Community of Scholars event.

When will I find out if I have received one of the scholarships?

Our goal is to notify Round One participants whether or not they have received a scholarship during the week of January 11, 2021. Round Two participants will receive notification by the week of February 22, 2021.

How do I earn a music scholarship?

You may audition for music scholarships. No in-person auditions will be held in 2020-21. Learn more about the process.

What if I want to visit campus?

We are currently offering virtual and limited in-person campus visits. We encourage you to reach out to your Admissions Counselor or sign up for a visit.

Who can I talk to if I have more questions?

Email your admissions counselor or contact us directly at

Round One FAQ

What are you looking for with my scholarship submission?

First of all, there are no “right” answers to the questions we have provided. Your submission is an opportunity to creatively express how a UMN Morris education aligns with your goals and interests, and why being a part of the UMN Morris community is important to you.

There's no one correct way to respond to the prompts we've provided. We're hoping to get to know you better and see how you fit in the UMN Morris community. We're eager to find out how you think the University of Minnesota Morris can impact you—and to find out how you can impact the University of Minnesota Morris. Our community is made up of about 1,500 different individuals who bring their own personalities and passions to the table. Does the idea of dance get your toes tapping, or does computer programming get your fingers typing? Are you jazzed about serving your hometown through volunteering or energized by competing in a high school sport you want to continue in college? Do you dream of a future in finance or a career in caring? Is sustainability your mode of sustenance or do you light up at the idea of solar power? Let us know. We're here to learn!

What if I'm not feeling creative, or I don't see myself as a creative or "artsy" person?

Creativity comes from all kinds of thinking and manifests in a multitude of forms! Whether you're a poet or a scientist—or both—we're excited to see what makes you tick. We don't expect you to conform to a certain idea of creativity. We want to see what you have to offer, and that means we want to know what genuinely makes you who you are. If you get excited about analytical thinking or computer programming, send us something that reflects your greatest strengths and how those strengths will contribute to the UMN Morris community. Don't feel like you need to force your personality into a box that restricts YOUR kind of creativity. Ideally, you'll feel inspired and excited to produce something to showcase your talents.

How do I submit my work?

Click on the submission link and answer the questions provided. All submissions should be uploaded through the link. For example, if you decide to answer one of the prompts by painting a picture, you will need to take photos of your artwork and upload them to this web page.

How will my submission be judged/scored?

Your submission will be evaluated by a group of faculty, staff, and alumni.

Will you take into account anything besides my submission when determining if I receive a scholarship?

Our scholarship awarding process is holistic and takes into account submission scores; your academic achievements; and extracurricular, leadership, and community involvement.

Scholarship Recognition Day

What will I learn during the Scholarship Recognition Day virtual event?

We have prepared a number of activities to immerse students in the (virtual!) UMN Morris experience. You’ll hear from alumni and current students about how being a part of Community of Scholars helped shape their college experience, and also learn more from the faculty who will be your advisers and mentors once you join our community.

Why do I have to attend the Scholarship Recognition Day?

The Scholarship Recognition Day is a vital part of creating a Community of Scholars. While the atmosphere is non-competitive and relaxed, you'll find that the day is important for helping you to get to know the benefits of a UMN Morris education and for introducing you to the people who make up the community you will be joining. You'll learn a lot and get inspired for your individual interview for the Prairie Scholars Award.

Is there a dress code?

There is no dress code, and scholarship recipients are not judged on attire. Keep in mind that you could be visible to other participants in this virtual environment, so please dress appropriately and keep your background free from distractions. Download a branded Zoom background to use during the Scholarship Recognition Day.

Is there anything I need to do with my computer in advance of the virtual Scholarship Recognition Day event?

This event will be held via Zoom. If you have issues with accessing the event, we will have technical support available. 

Round Two FAQ

When will I find out if I'm invited to participate in Round Two?

Students invited to participate in Round Two will be notified by the week of January 18.

How can I prepare for the online individual interview in Round Two?

The interviews are a way for members of the UMN Morris community to get to know you better—and for you to get to know members of the community. Relax and be yourself. To prepare, you may want to browse our website and familiarize yourself with campus opportunities and programs and think about how you would utilize those programs. During the virtual Scholarship Recognition Day you may want to ask quesions of previous scholarship recipients to find out how their scholarships have made a difference to them and think about how a scholarship will make a difference to you.